The beauty of Scotland's islands reaches its peak in Argyll and The Isles. More than three thousand miles of unspoiled coastline means there's always space for you to settle down for the day with a picnic, while those who crave even more solitude can visit one of 25 uninhabited islands. As you hike deserted trails and marvel at the diversity of wildlife, you'll find it hard to believe that Glasgow, the 2008 UNESCO City of Music, is less than an hour's drive away.
The islands around here are also known as the Inner Hebrides, and are easy to explore with the regular ferry service, island hopping between Mull, Oban, Iona, Saffa, and Ulva. Tiree has some of the best surfing in the UK, and there are many other water sports on offer if hanging ten is not your thing. Islay is especially well known for the quality of its malt whisky, with eight distilleries waiting to introduce you to its peaty delights. Take a tour to see the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, just off the island of Jura. It's the world's third largest and a sight you will never forget.
Bute is the antidote to humdrum and mundane routines! The island may be small (just 15 miles long and 4 miles wide), but it's full of Scottish wonders. Step off the ferry and admire the many gardens, listen to the pipe bands, and cheer on your favourites at the Bute Highland Games. Bute Museum in Rothesay gives a comprehensive look at island life and history, which dates back more than 8,000 years.
The Inner Hebrides has something for every lover of the great outdoors, whether you get your kicks jumping off cliffs, or prefer to appreciate the landscape from a comfy chair. You'll return to your normal life refreshed, with a head full of memories of this incredible place.
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